China free-trade zone spurs hope for reform revival
SHANGHAI (AFP) - A planned free-trade zone in Shanghai is raising hopes that China's new leaders will revive long-stalled economic reforms as they seek to make their mark.
China has become the world's second-largest economy and a driver of global growth thanks to a boom unleashed three decades ago when the Communist Party loosened state control of business and began to embrace the market.
But deep reforms slowed over the past decade under the conservative President Hu Jintao, despite pleas from its trade partners, analysts said.
Some Chinese academics say the free-trade zone (FTZ) is on par with the special economic zones China set up in the 1980s and its commitment to join the World Trade Organization in 2001.